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Priestly family papers

Call Number: RH MS 249


William Priestly and his wife, Ellen, settled in Lawrence, Kansas area in the early 1870s; together they had nine children. This collection contains family correspondence from 1890-1920, and some personal records, including Civil War quartermaster reports filed by William Priestly.


  • 1833 - 1945


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of the Priestly Family

William Priestly (circa 1827-1898) arrived in Lawrence, Kansas around 1871 or 1872 from Ohio and Indiana. He is registered in the city directories as both a farmer and a lawyer and had homes in Lawrence and Baldwin City, moving to Baldwin during the summer months. He also served as a quartermaster during the Civil War.

Priestly married Ellen Lingo on Oct. 9, 1855 in Noble County, Ohio. The date of Ellen (Lingo) Priestly's birth is not known. She died around 1916. The couple had nine children: Lane, Joseph, Nellie, Will, George, Carrie, John, James, and Gertrude.

Lane Priestly (1858-1860) was born in in Sarahsville, Ohio. Joseph Priestly (1860-1880) was born in Caldwell, Ohio and attended the University of Kansas. He died in South America, possibly of yellow fever, around 1880.

Nellie Priestly Bean (1863-1953) was born in Caldwell, Ohio. She married Dr. James Bean and they had no children, spending much of their time in Alaska.

Will "Willie" Priestly (1866-1946) was born near Columbus, Ohio and died in New York. Will married Anna Freeborn in 1905 and they did not have any children. He was a farmer and consulting engineer.

George Priestly (1868-1942) was born in Delaware, Indiana. He was an accountant for a mining firm in Canada. He married Nellie Boicourt and they had three children: Joseph (died of diphtheria as an infant); Willard (married Rose, died 1979); Dorothy (married J.D. Stokes, had two children, Jimmy and Ann). Nellie (Boicourt) Priestly died around 1909.

Carolina “Carrie” Priestly Yates (1871-1908) was born in Douglas County, Kansas and attended KU, receiving a degree in 1892 in pharmacy. She was a pharmacist at Yates Pharmacy in Latham, Kansas. She married Frank Yates in 1903 and had a daughter Nellie in 1906 in Lawrence. Carrie died, supposedly of a tubular pregnancy, and Frank remarried to a Louise in 1912. Carrie and Frank's daughter, Nellie, married James "Jew" Willis Holmes (1903-1955).

John Priestly (1873-1874) was born in Baldwin or Lawrence, Kansas and died in infancy. James Priestly (1878-1924) graduated from KU in 1900 with a degree in engineering. He worked as an engineer, for a time in South America, and as an architect. He married Jessie and had no children.

Gertrude "Dewey" Frances Priestly (1880-1971) lived at the family home in Lawrence all her life. She graduated from KU in 1906 and was a schoolteacher.


2.5 Linear Feet (3 boxes, + 2 oversize items)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The Priestly family collection is composed primarily of correspondence between family members and friends. The correspondence relates the activities and thoughts of a family in Lawrence, Kansas, during the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The collection also contains quartermaster reports filed by William Priestly during the Civil War, stories written by Anna Freeborn Priestly, and personal financial materials for some members in the family. A partial family tree has been constructed based on information found in the papers.


Collection is organized by individual family member, with Civil War quartermaster reports and miscellaneous materials not easily tied to any family member located at the end of the collection. One oversize item has been physically separated from the rest of the collection and is located at RH MS Q59.

Physical Location

RH MS 249

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, H. Robert Malinowsky, March 1972.


ksrl.kc.priestlyfamilyfamilytree.ead.pdf for Priestly family tree diagram.

Guide to the Priestly Family Collection
Priestly family papers
lt 8/82 ; mg 2004; revised eje, 2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Priestly family papers, Kansas Collection, RH MS 259, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States